This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Lenox Almond Biscotti, selected by Gretchen of Canela & Comino.
But first things first. Happy birthday (today) to my little munchkin, Gillian! I can hardly believe that she's two. Where does the time go?
Okay, back to the baking. =) For a change, I actually made these early! Part of the reason was because I knew my schedule at the end of the week would be crazy. And part was because I've never made biscotti before. In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten biscotti before this. Sure, I've seen them plenty of times. But they are often flavored with things like almond and anise, which I really don't like very much. So right, off, you can probably guess that I made some changes to the recipe.
For my first attempt, I substituted 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla for the almond extract (which was also 1 1/2 teaspoons in the original recipe--that's a lot of almond!). I went with pecans instead of almonds (had some left from last week) and added half a cup of bittersweet chocolate pieces.
The chocolate was actually a cool new product that I learned about courtesy of Anna at Cookie Madness. They actually come in 58%, 72%, and 100%. Pretty handy.
With the first batch of biscotti, I learned that you really don't want to make the logs too wide, since they spread a lot. And they take longer than expected to bake through. I pulled mine out at about 17 minutes, and I should have left them in longer, since it turned out that the centers were still not quite done. After letting the logs cool, I sliced them on the bias, and put them back in the oven for another 18 minutes.
The verdict? I love the pecans in these. The chocolate was good, but almost a bit too bitter, especially in contrast with the sweetness of the pecans. Not bad, but they need work.
So I made them again. =) I continue to crave fall flavors. And one of my favorite teas, year-round, is chai. So I decided to come up with a chai spice version. I kept the vanilla, but cut it back to 1 teaspoon. I added 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cardamom and freshly grated nutmeg to the dry ingredients. For the second round, I was much more careful shaping the logs. I baked them for 25 minutes the first time, which firmed them up nicely for cutting. For the second bake, I went with 15 minutes. Had I added any nuts or other additions, I would have kept them in longer. As the cookies were cooling on the rack, they looked a bit boring, though. So I whisked some powdered sugar with a bit of milk and drizzled the glaze over them.
The verdict? Fantastic! The flavor combination was just what I was after. Great with tea, chai or otherwise. I know some bakers didn't really care for the crunch from the cornmeal, but I like it. I'm looking forward to experimenting with some other flavor combinations.
For the recipe, head on over to Gretchen's blog. And don't forget, if you want to join us in our weekly baking adventures, sign up by October 31st!